There are many plant-based supplements out there, all with their unique properties and benefits. Valerian root is no exception, as it is known to improve sleeping habits, while reducing insomnia. Not only is it beneficial for sleep-related issues, but panic attacks as well.
Many users are beginning to use this supplement, in order to help them relax; by reducing stress levels and enhancing one’s mood. Since this root comes in various forms and methods of administration, it is important to know which benefits you’re looking to seek.
How Can Valerian Root Benefit Me?
Valerian root is not a new remedy, considering it has been used for over 2000 years. It is most commonly used as a mild, natural sedative. Now that it is becoming more popular in Western society, medicinal research is being conducted. Existing studies have already reported the effects of valerian root, in terms of regulating stress and improve one’s ability to sleep.
Other than the mental complications associated with stress, physical health problems also arise. Increased stress can affect sleeping patterns, while poor sleep patterns can increase stress levels. It is essential to your health, that you get enough sleep. For those that have a hard time falling, then staying asleep, valerian root may be the solution.
While focusing on anxiety, valerian root activates one’s GABA receptors. Since GABA is responsible for stress prevention, it can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Basically, GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to calm us down when we’re anxious or stressed.
How Does Valerian Root Compare to Prescription Sedatives?
When you take prescription medications for sleep (or anti-anxiety drugs), these prescriptions target your GABA receptors. Unfortunately, these drugs are often associated with numerous side-effects and withdrawal symptoms. Valerian root is believed to have much milder effects, in comparison to prescription drugs.
When people take prescription drugs, they often experience sleepiness or fatigue throughout the following day. Valerian root does not create these effects, which is why it’s being recognized as an effective solution for sleep disorders.
How to Take Valerian Root
As mentioned, valerian root comes in many forms. It is not believed that one form is superior over others, however, depending on the circumstances, one form may be more beneficial than others. This will depend on the circumstance, the benefits that the user is looking to achieve, and the user themselves.
When purchasing valerian root, you want to ensure the highest possible levels of natural root extract. It is the root itself, that contain majority of the active ingredients. Although you may find them cheaper, formulas that are made from the stems, flowers, and leaves; may require larger doses.
It has been recommended that you avoid purchasing products that contain either liquid or dried leaf. When left for extended periods, it’s believed that these products can become toxic. Like any new supplement, make sure that you are well aware of what you’re taking. If you have concerns or questions, speak with your healthcare professional.
Is Valerian Root Safe to Take?
At this time, the exact mechanism of action is not known. Clinical trials and research are being conducted, in order to discover the full effects that this root has on the human body. As mentioned, this root has been used for thousands of years. Any studies conducted thus far, have not found any serious side-effects.
Although more testing is required, users have stated that they have successfully taken this supplement without experiencing any serious side-effects. The general consensus is that valerian root is safe. In rare cases, some users have experienced a skin rash after using this extract. This is not common with oral administration, but has occurred when valerian root is used topically.
The effects are generally mild, taking up to a week to notice results. If you do not notice any effects within the first week, it is recommended that you do not continue taking this supplement, until your have spoken with your physician.
Like any new supplement, speak with a healthcare provider regarding your desired use. This is especially true for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and for those that are currently on any other medications. It is important to ensure that no interactions will occur.
Recommended Dosage of Valerian Root
If you purchase extract drops, you can mix your dose into a herbal tea before bed. You can also ingest a capsule, providing you with beneficial doses of valerian. The best time to take your dose, is around an hour before bed (it is not recommended that you consume this root more than two hours before bed). It can cause you to be drowsy, which is why you should avoid taking valerian root during the day.
With that being said, some users take small doses before a stressful event. For instance, some individuals become highly anxious before they write an exam or give a public speech. These effects are still being researched. DO NOT take valerian root for the first time, before an important event.
If you do not know how it will affect you, you should not experiment before one of these related events. While at-home, start with the smallest possible dose. From there, you can increase the amount you take, until you find the dosage that is best for you.
The amount of valerian root you take, can directly determine its effectiveness. If you plan on taking valerian root for a short period of time, then 500 to 700 mg each night is recommended. At this dosage, you should discontinue usage after a month. If you would like to take this root extract for a longer period of time, then a dose between 200 and 300 mg is recommended.